31 Days of Horror 2019: ‘Ghost Rider #1’ Brings Hell to the Marvel Universe

Is there any Marvel character that makes for a better horror story that Ghost Rider? Whether he’s Johnny Blaze or Danny Ketch or Robbie Reyes, that visage of a leather-clad skeleton on a motorcycle, his head engulfed in flames is the stuff of nightmares in the Marvel universe (the Nicolas Cage films may also be the stuff of nightmares, depending on your temperament).

October is the right time for a new Ghost Rider series to arrive, and wouldn’t you know it, a first issue arrived just days ago.

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Ghost Rider #1
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Aaron Kuder

In this solid first issue, we discover that the classic Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze is in charge of Hell (previously the domain of Mephisto, who is currently locked away for his trespasses). With multiple demons trying to escape the domain, Blaze heads into our world to track some down, where he comes across his brother in blazes, Danny Ketch. Meanwhile, not everybody in Hell is happy with the new regime – enter the demonic Lilith, looking to claim the thrown for herself.

As a reader that’s never been invested in the character of Ghost Rider, I found this first issue a solid jumping on point (as you’d hope with a #1). I don’t know much about any of the protagonists, but writer Brisson gives the issue just enough backstory to get you curious and engaged. The occult is a bit of my bag, though, so even though I may not know the Marvel version of Lilith, the name is enough to conjure up lots of potential. I like the idea of this conflict between the denizens of Hell, and I’m sure the series is going to explore the idea if whether it really is better to reign in hell than serves in heaven.

Ghost Rider #1 comes with a helpful run down of all the various underworlds in the Marvel Universe; that’s right there’s more than one. Pick up the Director’s Cut digital copy and you also get various covers, Brisson’s original script, and Aaron Kuder’s pencils.   It’s a great entry point for lapsed and new fans alike, and a strong way to kick off the Halloween season.

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